Very few people are able to buy a house outright. Some people will try to make the argument that this is a problem unique to our financially-troubled times, but the truth is that we’ve rarely not lived in “financially-troubled” times where a lot of people were able to buy homes without assistance from some institution.
Banks and other lenders have been pulling the financial strings of the vast majority of homeownership for a long time, and it will probably continue to be that way for a long time yet. The fact is that, unless you’re pretty darn wealthy, you’re going to need financial assistance to get a home. Heck, even the wealthy need the assistance at times, when you consider modern house prices.
Getting a mortgage is, in all likelihood, how you’re going to get your own home. So it’s important that you’re not falling for any myths about mortgages! Here are some of the most common.
A pre-approved loan is a sure thing
Yes, you should definitely get a mortgage pre-approved before you start shopping for property. But this doesn’t mean that a pre-approved mortgage is the same thing as a mortgage! However, once you’ve made an offer on the place, the lender is going to double-check everything. After all, things may have changed between that pre-approval and the final approval. Remember that prefix: pre-approval. It’s not total approval just yet!
A high income is all that matters
Let’s say you’ve got one person earning $100,000 a year and another that earns $50,000 a year. The first one is going to get the best mortgage rate, right? Well, not necessarily. There are a lot of factors to consider. Ms $100,000 may also be paying about $60,000 in debt every year, whereas Ms $50,000 is only paying maybe $3000 in debt. The latter has a healthier cash flow, so has the upper hand! Another thing to consider is the type of work you do. Ms $50,000 may be a scientist with a steady career ladder ahead. Ms $100,000 may be a self-employed freelancer who could potentially earn much less in the following year!
Your credit needs to be spotless
It’s true that a good credit score is highly desirable if you want a mortgage. But you’re not expected to have a perfect score. But if you have a middling score – and many people do! – then it’s not exactly a deal breaker. In general, a few blemishes won’t hurt you overall as long as you have a steady income and pay your bills.
You need to have 20% saved for a down payment
20% is the amount that always gets thrown around when it comes to saving up money for a down payment on a home. And, yes, that is the best minimum to have if you want the best mortgage rates. But it’s not necessary – after all, that 20% is usually quite a lot of money. There are a lot of good institutions who will give you a mortgage with a down payment of about 5%, for example. Don’t assume you’re doomed if you haven’t saved that magical amount of 20% just yet!